Ambuja Cement Foundation supported women’s federation Shri Sorath Mahila Vikas Sahkari Samiti (SMVSM) has been conferred with the ‘Sandvik India Gender Award 2018’ in recognition of its role in empowering and transforming the lives of rural women through holistic initiatives, thus contributing to gender equality.
The SMVSM from Kodinar in Gujarat was honoured with this recognition under the category ‘Community Based Organisation’ for breaking gender stereotypes and overcoming conscious or subconscious bias with the help of its digital literacy initiative. The award was received by the federation’s director Motiben Chavda from the renowned Indian social worker Sindhutai Sapkal during a recently held event in Pune.
Ambuja Cement Foundation, the CSR (corporate social responsibility) arm of the leading cement manufacturer Ambuja Cement, helps women realise their potential by fostering and promoting holistic approaches that include facilitating them to form groups and federations, thus effecting sustainable social change. Ambuja Cement Foundation has completed its Silver Jubilee recently.
Highlighting about the achievement, Pearl Tiwari, Head, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “It’s indeed a proud moment for us. While we have always believed that for our women sky is the limit, it is quite heartening to witness their incredible journey. ACF’s women empowerment initiatives started with Kodinar but today we have been successful in making a significant change in the lives of rural women across different locations – and enabled them to transform their role from homemakers to change-makers.”
“Today, women are defying social norms, gender stereotypes and scaling new heights with their strong determination,” added Tiwari.
The Sandvik India Gender Award supports gender initiatives, recognises excellence and commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the areas such as education and social change. The selection criteria for this award included a very rigorous three-staged scrutiny process under the observation of the distinguished jury.
One of the key initiatives that enabled this federation to win the award is ‘Internet Saathi’ – the ongoing initiative introduced by Ambuja Cement Foundation in collaboration with its partners in order to provide entrepreneurship opportunities and withstand competition in the digital world. This programme assumes even more significance at a time when the government is pushing ahead the Digital India initiative to transform the country into a digitally empowered society.
Over 100 Internet Saathis – who move in and around the villages and gather the women folks to teach them on the usage of smartphone and internet – have trained over one lakh women so far, making them capable of taking up new challenges. Through this project, SMVSM aims to train over 200 women as Internet Saathis, who will in turn educate over 2.5 lakh women by 2020.
Registered in 2012, this federation comprising of 6,000 members was established to provide social security to women in rural areas. Today, with various successful initiatives to uplift social strata of women, the federation members with a corpus of Rs 5 crore are not only financially independent but also empowered to fight social taboos – alcoholism, domestic violence and widow discrimination.